today is the feast of saint isidore, the farmer. it isn't a day celebrated with any fanfare, but it's the day after we spent most of the afternoon in cahuacán, surrounded by cornfields and orchards. while patricio mowed the grass on the upper terrace, i unlocked the gate that leads to the lower terraces, cultivated on the slope of a hill by my father-in-law. lined with fruit trees, the terraces are home to small autumn crops of broad beans and corn. may, though, is plum season, and i spent a half hour filling my mouth and jacket pockets with the tiny, sweet, garnet globes. i remembered the little church in tinaja, new mexico, dedicated to san isidro in a time when the small community made a living from the land at the foot of tinaja peak, it's flat, round shape reminiscent of it's namesake--a large earthenware jar.
patricio's parents share most of what can be picked and savored when those fruits and grains and legumes become ripe. the trees and plants produce so much that they ask most everyone they know to take some of it home. when i arrived last september, friends and family came and went with bucketfuls of pears, hard but sweet, delicious when stewed. my in-laws effortlessly live san isidro's example, sharing what they harvest, in what sometimes seems a miraculous multiplication of food.
here at home, though, there's not much need of san isidro's crop blessing. though i suppose we could use our carnation and gardenia petals to steep in wine, sweeten desserts, or flavor jasmine tea, the garden is mostly just pretty and ornamental. but when patricio walks through the front door proudly and does this:
i know he's silently talking about our one and only future food source, a nogal, or pecan tree.
a brief stop in abilene, texas last november marked patricio's first joe allen bite of barbecue, first time to meet our beautiful friend, lori, first wide-eyed balcony view of the paramount theater, and first walk through my alma mater's campus. those 208 acres were almost entirely deserted, except for a handful of people gathering pecans between the library and mckinzie hall. we decided to follow their lead.
a dozen of those pecans made it back to mexico on the return trip, and the ones that escaped snackdom were planted by patricio in a pot out front. only one of the nuts sprouted, but it's growing with singular enthusiasm. i do hope san isidro looks kindly on our little nogal. i like to imagine using it's future fruits in chocolate chip cookie dough, what alinne and i are going to whip up together this afternoon as a a sugary gift for her family. i also love watching patricio's regal nogal pose every time he tracks its progress, sharing its little miracle of green life with us. we'll see. we're nuts about our tiny tree.